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Iran’s President abandons CNN interview after Amanpour declines head scarf demand


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi withdrew from a long-planned interview with CNN’s chief worldwide anchor Christiane Amanpour on the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, after she declined a last-minute demand to put on a head scarf.

Some 40 minutes after the interview was scheduled as a consequence of begin and with Raisi operating late, an aide advised Amanpour the president had advised that she put on a head scarf. Amanpour stated that she “politely declined.”

Amanpour, who grew up within the Iranian capital Tehran and is a fluent Farsi speaker, stated that she wears a head scarf whereas reporting in Iran to adjust to the native legal guidelines and customs, “in any other case you couldn’t function as a journalist.” However she stated that she wouldn’t cowl her head to conduct an interview with an Iranian official exterior a rustic the place it isn’t required.

“Right here in New York, or wherever else exterior of Iran, I’ve by no means been requested by any Iranian president – and I’ve interviewed each single considered one of them since 1995 – both inside or exterior of Iran, by no means been requested to put on a head scarf,” she stated on CNN’s “New Day” program Thursday.

“I very politely declined on behalf of myself and CNN, and feminine journalists in all places as a result of it isn’t a requirement.”

Iranian legislation requires all girls to put on a head protecting and loose-fitting clothes in public. The rule has been enforced in Iran for the reason that 1979 Islamic Revolution, and it’s compulsory for each lady within the nation – together with vacationers, visiting political figures and journalists.

Amanpour stated that Raisi’s aide made clear that the interview – which might have been the Iranian president’s first on American soil – wouldn’t occur if she didn’t put on a head scarf. He referred to it as “a matter of respect,” given that it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar, and referred to “the scenario in Iran,” alluding to the protests sweeping the nation, she added.

Anti-government protests erupted throughout Iran final week over the loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whereas in custody, after having been arrested by Iran’s morality police on an accusation of violating the legislation on head scarves.

Thousands of people have taken to streets, with some girls chopping their hair and burning their hijabs in protest towards the legislation. Human rights teams have reported that a minimum of eight individuals have been killed within the demonstrations, which have been met with a pointy crackdown by authorities, in keeping with witnesses and movies shared on social media.

The demonstrations seem like essentially the most large-scale shows of defiance towards the Islamic Republic’s rule, one which has develop into extra stringent for the reason that election of Raisi’s hard-line authorities final 12 months. After eight years of Hassan Rouhani’s average administration, Iran elected Raisi, an ultra-conservative judiciary chief whose views are in step with the considering of the nation’s highly effective clergy and Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Iran, the pinnacle scarf is a potent image of a set of private guidelines imposed by the nation’s clerical leaders, which govern what individuals can put on, watch and do. Over the previous decade, protests have flared as many Iranians have grown resentful of these limitations.

Amini’s loss of life has fueled an outpouring of long-simmering anger over restrictions on private freedoms. Surveys and studies lately have proven an rising variety of Iranians don’t consider the hijab, or head scarf, must be obligatory.

Iranian officers have claimed Amini died after struggling a “coronary heart assault” and falling right into a coma, however her household have stated she had no pre-existing coronary heart situation, in keeping with Emtedad information, an Iranian pro-reform media outlet. Skepticism over the officers’ account of her loss of life has additionally stoked the general public outcry.

CCTV footage launched by Iran’s state media confirmed Mahsa Amini collapsing at a “re-education” middle the place she was taken by the morality police to obtain “steering” on her apparel.

Amanpour had deliberate to probe Raisi on the Amini’s loss of life and the protests, in addition to the nuclear deal and Iran’s help for Russia in Ukraine, however stated that she needed to stroll away.

“As protests proceed in Iran and individuals are being killed, it will have been an vital second to talk with President Raisi,” she stated in a Twitter thread.

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